I’m happy for those of you who wouldn’t change a thing about your smartphone. But for me, there’s no such thing as the perfect smartphone — at least not the ones available off-the-shelf today.
For example, my favourite phone is the Google Pixel, but I wish it had the design and camera of the Galaxy S8, as well Apple’s iOS App Store for the iPhone 7.
If I could build my own dream phone, I’d pick 14 different parts from seven different smartphones to create the ultimate smartphone. Check out what parts my dream Franken-phone would use:
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Save for the bottom border, the Xiaomi Mi Mix arguably has thinner borders around its display than the Galaxy S8, making for a gorgeous all-display smartphone. Unfortunately, the Mi Mix isn't available to buy in the US, but that doesn't matter because my custom phone is totally fictitious!
The Galaxy S8's glass back is nice, but the iPhone 7's glossy 'Jet Black' colour option is the king of premium looks and feel.
I'd be perfectly happy with a 1080p screen, like you'd find on the iPhone 7 Plus or OnePlus 5. But if I'm building my dream phone, I might as well give it the highest resolution on any smartphone at the moment: The 4K display from Sony's Xperia XZ Premium.
The Galaxy S8's camera isn't a dual-lens system like you'd find on the LG G6, OnePlus 5, or the iPhone 7, but it's still the best camera on a smartphone. And despite the fact that it's not a dual-lens system, the Galaxy S8's camera can still do things that dual-lens cameras can, like the Portrait mode on the OnePlus 5 and iPhone 7.
First of all, the OnePlus 5's fingerprint scanner is on the front of the phone, which I prefer over the rear-mounted fingerprint scanners on the Galaxy S8 and LG G6.
Secondly, the OnePlus 5's fingerprint scanner is the fastest and most accurate fingerprint scanner I've tried. Check out how fast it is compared to the Galaxy S8's fingerprint scanner:
Water resistance is a nice buffer for that 'one time' your phone drops in water so you don't have to buy a new phone.
Both the Galaxy S8 and LG G6 have the highest IP 68 water resistance on a smartphone right now, which means they can survive in up to 1.5 meters (five feet) of water for up to 30 minutes. The iPhone 7 is also water resistant, but not quite as much as the S8 or G6. Its IP67 rating allows it to go down to one meter of water (three feet) for up to 30 minutes.
It's not a huge difference, but I might as well get the most water resistance!
When it comes to operating systems, I lean towards Google's Android with the Pixel launcher from the Google Pixel phone. It gets the latest Android updates directly from Google, and the Pixel launcher has a clean, modern look. Apple iOS operating system is also clean and modern, but it doesn't let me put app icons where I like, and I can hide icons of apps I don't use very often with the Android app drawer.
Plus, Google's Android is much easier for handling and managing notifications than iOS.
I'd love it if I could use Android and the Google Pixel's launcher with apps designed for Apple's iOS. I feel like some of my apps for iOS are slightly better designed than their Android counterparts. For example, the iOS version of Twitter has menu buttons on the bottom, which makes them easier to tap with your thumb. Android's Twitter version has the same buttons at the top, which is confounding.
That's just one example, and many apps share the same design on both platforms, but there are others that are inconsistent on either platform, and iOS apps tends to win out.
The $US540 OnePlus 5's 8GB of RAM makes for incredibly fast performance when you use a lot of apps throughout the day. Most phones today only pack 4GB of RAM.
RAM is the memory in your device, and it makes for speedy and smooth multitasking. It's like your phone's back pocket, storing things like recently-opened apps, and keeping them handy for when you need to open them again. The more RAM you have, the more apps you can run in the background without throttling your phone's performance.
Apple's A10 processor in the iPhone 7 marginally beats the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip that's under the hood in the OnePlus 5 and Galaxy S8 phones, according to benchmarking results from Trusted Reviews.
Wireless charging is a nice feature to have. I can plop my phone on its wireless charging dock on my desk and never have to worry about running out of battery. Sure, I could just plug it in, but wireless charging doesn't need me to plug and unplug the charging cable.
For wired charging, the best solution is OnePlus' Dash Charging. It keeps all of the parts that create heat during charging in the charging adaptor itself. That allows the OnePlus 5 to stay cool during charging, which means its performance and charging speed is never throttled during charging.
The ZenFone 3 Max itself might not have the best battery life, but it has the largest battery compared to most of the latest smartphones today. Combined with the software and hardware optimization from the Google Pixel, Galaxy S8, or iPhone 7, the ZenFone 3 Max's 4,100 mAh battery could probably give me a two, or even three-day battery life.
Sure, I could have chosen the price tag of a free flip-phone. But for the sake of keeping this a little bit realistic, I'm going to stick with pricing that's in the ballpark of a current and premium smartphone. The $US470 OnePlus 5 is the price tag I'd go for.